Where to Eat at Disney World: New Restaurants and Experiences

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A date at Walt Disney World is the most magical when there's delicious dining involved. Now you have even more choices thanks to new restaurants and dining experiences at Walt Disney World. Some restaurants are brand new, others are reopening for the first time in nearly two years. So, where should you eat at Walt Disney World? Read on for a listing of new Disney restaurants with tips on which ones are best for each type of occasion.
 

New Table Service Disney Restaurants

Space 220

Location: EPCOT
Best for: Special occasions
 
The most anticipated new restaurant at Walt Disney World is literally out of this world. Space 220 is a fully immersive restaurant located at EPCOT.
 
Imagine how impressed your date will be boarding a space elevator to travel 220 miles above Earth to dine in outer space. Only Disney could make a place like this. After departing the space elevator you'll walk into a modern dining room with picture windows that look out into space — keep an eye out for special Disney and Star Wars moments that could only happen in space.
 

Space 220 Restaurant at EPCOT - Cocktails
Enjoy cocktails at Space 220 Restaurant at EPCOT

 
Space 220 offers a prix fixe menu for adults and kids for lunch and dinner. Prices are $55 for adults for lunch, $79 for adults for dinner, and $29 for kids for lunch and dinner. A lounge is available as well, with a la carte ordering. You will need a reservation for dining at Space 220, or check in upon arrival to see if there is walk-in availability for the lounge. 
 

Space 220 Restaurant at EPCOT - Lounge
The Lounge at Space 220 Restaurant

 

Steakhouse 71

Location: Disney's Contemporary
Best for: Breakfast, lunch, and a nice dinner, or walk-up lounge
 
For many Disney fans it was hard to let go of The Wave, a popular restaurant at Disney's Contemporary. But now that Steakhouse 71 has opened in its place, many are rejoicing. Located on the first floor of the Contemporary, this casual steakhouse gets its name from the opening year of Walt Disney World — now celebrating its 50th anniversary. Steakhouse 71 offers a menu of elevated American classics for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
 

Dessert at Steakhouse 71 new restaurant at disney contemporary
Dessert at Steakhouse 71
Steakhouse 71 Entrance with Vintage Photos of Walt Disney World
Steakhouse 71 Entrance with Vintage Photos

 
So far it is receiving great reviews and offers the right balance of casual sophistication, making it both approachable and special. Any Disney fan will love the decor and details paying homage to the early years of Walt Disney World. Even the menu has reimagined favorites from that era.
 
The specialty cocktails are not to be missed, especially the Tequila Sunrise for Two — just perfect for date night with Herradura Reposado Tequila, POG Juice, rosemary simple syrup, and house-made grenadine. Lounge seating is also available on a first-come, first-serve basis. The space is much brighter than its predecessor.
 

Tequila Sunrise for Two at Steakhouse 71 Disney Contemporary
Tequila Sunrise for Two at Steakhouse 71

 

La Creperie de Paris

Location: EPCOT
Best for: An international casual date
 
It's a momentous occasion when a World Showcase pavilion gets an expansion. EPCOT's France Pavilion is now home to a new ride, Remy's Ratatouille Adventure, and a new restaurant. La Creperie de Paris offers a chance to enjoy casual French cuisine in the most approachable restaurant of the pavilion. There's also a snack and beverage window.
 
Order a savory crepe, known as a galette, with gluten-free buckwheat, or satisfy your sweet tooth. Or, instead of choosing between the two, go with the pre-fixe option enabling you to have soup or salad, one savory galette, one sweet crepe, and a beverage.
 

Smoked Salmon, Crème Fraîche, Chives, Lemon at La Creperie de Paris EPCOT
Smoked Salmon, Crème Fraîche, Chives, Lemon at La Creperie de Paris EPCOT

 

New Disney Dining Experiences

NEW California Grill 50th Anniversary Menu

Location: Disney's Contemporary Resort
Best for: Special occasions
 
One of the best-known Disney restaurants now offers a limited-time dining experience. Perched at the top floor of Disney's Contemporary Resort, California Grill offers one of the best atmospheres at Walt Disney World. This signature restaurant has been a popular Disney date spot for decades, thanks to its panoramic views of Magic Kingdom and Bay Lake.
 
In honor of Walt Disney World's 50th anniversary, a special menu is being offered. This prix fixe menu includes 3 courses (appetizer, entree, and dessert) for $89 per adult and $39 per child under 10. Highlights of this special menu include The California Grill Sushi Classics Trio – Blue Crab California Roll, Shrimp Tempura Roll, Spicy Kazan Roll, as well as  Oak-Fired Filet of Beef. The House-Made Artisanal-Style Duck á la Orange Pizza is a recreation of an original menu item from the restaurant's days when it was known as the Top of the World.
 

Main Street Confectionerynewly reimagined

Location: Magic Kingdom
Best for: The sweetest date
 
Treat your sweetheart to the sweetest Disney date. Head to Main Street Confectionery just inside Magic Kingdom for a dose of old-fashioned storybook sweets. The classic Disney candy shop has just reopened with a brand-new look, while keeping in touch with its classic roots. The modern space allows guests to move about in a better flow.
 

Main Street Confectionery - Newly Reopened at Magic Kingdom
Main Street Confectionery – Newly reopened with more space

 
Keep an eye out for details and a heartwarming backstory of the shop's origins. The big hit of the Confectionery's new offerings is the make-your-own specialty popcorn. You can select from a variety of popcorn flavors as your base and add on toppings like chocolate syrup, marshmallows, cookie crumbles, and much more.
 

Main Street Confectionery - Make Your Own Specialty Popcorn at Magic Kingdom
Main Street Confectionery – Make Your Own Specialty Popcorn

 

Trader Sam's Grog Grottorecently reopened

Location: Disney's Polynesian Village Resort
Best for: A tropical hideaway date
 
Fans of Trader Sam's Grog Grotto are excited to have this enchanted tiki bar reopened at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort. This special, interactive tiki bar has a refreshed menu and a few tweaks. Any couple who wants a night of delicious rum cocktails and a unique atmosphere needs to make a voyage here.
 
Just know that parking can be tough because officially only guests with a dining reservation or a hotel reservation can park at the Polynesian Resort. Be sure to have your photo ID ready at the security check point and explain you're heading to Trader Sam's — I find I am more likely to be granted parking access early in the afternoon versus in the evening.

Disney for Orlando Locals: Trader Sam's Grog Grotto tiki bar
Trader Sam's Grog Grotto | Image credit: Stephanie Patterson

 

BOMA Flavors of Africarecently reopened

Location: Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge
Best for: An adventurous date
 
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge is worth a trip, even without a Disney park ticket or overnight stay. With a confirmed dining reservation you'll be able to park at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge – Jambo House, and you can explore the exotic resort as you wish before or after your dining experience. This means you can view the incredible African animals on the savanna, and check out the cultural displays throughout the lobby.
 
It is worth mentioning that BOMA is one of the only buffet restaurants that reopened as a buffet, whereas most reopened as a family-style experience.
 

Tune-In Loungerecently reopened

Location: Disney's Hollywood Studios
Best for: Bar bites and drinks
 
One of the most adorable atmospheres at Walt Disney World can be found at Tune-In Lounge. This little lounge is part of the 50's Prime Time Cafe. Both venues have a nostalgic atmosphere with detailed decor, old television sets, and Cast Member interactions you won't find anywhere else. Get here early to grab a seat before they fill up, and enjoy some fantastic libations and a bite or two.
 

Brown Derby Loungerecently reopened

Location: Disney's Hollywood Studios
Best for: Appetizers and drinks
 
Brown Derby Lounge is perhaps my favorite lounge at Disney's Hollywood Studios. This alfresco lounge has some of the same high-class cocktails and food you'll find inside at the Hollywood Brown Derby Restaurant. Except here you don't need a reservation and you can opt for small bites rather than a full entree if you'd rather keep it light.
 
Brown Derby Lounge did reopen some months ago, but it was only for drinks to-go. Now you can still order to-go and stroll around the park, drink in hand, or have a sit and relax for a spell. Tables are first-come, first-served.
 

50th Anniversary Food and Beverage

In honor of Walt Disney World's 50th anniversary there are over 150 different specialty drinks, eats, and treats available throughout the resort. Keep an eye out at all quick service and table service locations for the specially designated 50th anniversary items.
 
One of my favorite 50th anniversary drinks is the Magical Beacon Cocktail made with 1908 Empress Gin. The celebration is just getting started so you'll have plenty of time to try out the new treats together.
 

Magical Beacon and Sip-a-Bration 50th Anniversary Specialty Drinks

 

How to Plan Your Disney Dining Date

  • Make a Park Pass Reservation if you're dining inside any of the theme parks
  • Make a Dining Reservation, they can fill up fast
  • Food allergies and special requests: Let your server know right away
  • Plan your budget; experiences marked “special occasion” can run $50 – $80 per person
  • Dress code: All Disney restaurants are pretty relaxed when it comes to dress code, still, it's nice to dress up a little once in a while

 

Disney World Restaurants Coming Soon

  • The return of Hoop Dee Doo Review
  • Roundup Rodeo BBQ
  • Salt and Straw ice cream at Disney Springs

 
All photos by Laura Byrne, unless otherwise noted.


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